Agenda item - Housing Management Performance Report Quarter 1 2018/19

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Agenda item

Housing Management Performance Report Quarter 1 2018/19

Report of the Executive Director for Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing (copy attached).



(1)            That the report along with the comments of the Committee be noted.


29.1    The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing which covered Quarter 1 of the financial year 2018/19. Notable results were covered in appendix 1 and were summarised in paragraph 1.1.  The report was presented by the Head of Income, Involvement and Improvement.


29.2    Councillor Barnett referred to a house in Hangleton & Knoll Ward which had been empty for 526 days. New turf had been placed in the front garden which had been ruined by the hot weather. She asked why a three bed house had been empty. The Head of Income, Involvement and Improvement stated that the property had been visited by an officer and a person had been identified for the property. She would provide more detail to Councillor Barnett and circulate the answer to all members of the committee.


29.3    Councillor Druitt thanked officers for the report and asked for an explanation regarding rechargeable debt. He referred to paragraph 4.16 of Appendix One in relation to Lifts – average time to restore service when not within 24 hours. This was 2 days in quarter 4 in 2017/18 and was 12 days in quarter 4 of 2018/19. He further asked about stage 1 complaints on page 234. It was explained that in relation to rechargeable debt, officers were reviewing policy and procedures. They were currently working on an old policy which was being reviewed. With regard to the recovery rate there were several staff vacancies. Staff were concentrating on working on Universal Credit. With regard to lifts it was stressed that the target was not 2 days. Information was given on those that had taken more than 24 hours. A couple of faults had not been diagnosed properly and other reasons were due to a question of parts. However, some blocks had a second lift. Complaints were essentially around not responding to someone as fully as possible. Officers had been asked to talk to residents to understand what the issues were.  Councillor Druitt stated that this was an honest and comprehensive reply.


29.4    Councillor Gibson referred to page 231 relating to Universal Credit.  Tenant’s arrears were increasing. He asked how much worse it was likely to become. Councillor Gibson questioned why responsive repairs post inspection were below target. He referred to page 247 regarding bulk waste removal. Performance was 81% last quarter and 80% now. Councillor Gibson asked if the target would be reached by the New Year.


29.5    The Head of Income, Involvement and Improvement explained that tenants’ arrears were likely to get worse but would plateau out in time. More people would be moving on to Universal Credit. The arrears would not be as bad as last year as the government had made some changes to the roll out of Universal Credit. Post inspection responsive repairs had got slightly worse. Officers were hopeful it would get better. Inspections were being carried out and issues taken up. It was explained that there should be an improvement in post inspections in the next quarter. There should also be an improvement in bulk waste removal.


29.6    Councillor Moonan referred to Universal Credit. Arrears had increased and resulted in evictions. There was a cumulative effect of the debt tenants experienced. The Head of Income, Involvement and Improvement explained that although arrears had increased for individual people, there had been much work to mitigate these problems, such as Money Advice Plus. The service was making sure that all officers were aware of this problem and were able to provide support.  The bulk of the arrears had resulted from a gap of 6 to 7 weeks before Universal Credit was paid. This had now lessened. The council had not evicted anyone on the basis of Universal Credit arrears. However, there were many cases where people had received Universal Credit and had still not paid arrears.


29.7    The Chair referred to page 225 – Tenancy Management. This stated that five properties had returned to stock due to housing fraud. She asked if this was part of an amnesty and this was confirmed to be correct.  The Chair asked about the number of properties the council was investigating due to intelligence. The Head of Income, Involvement and Improvement replied that she would report back on that matter.


29.8    RESOLVED:-


(1)            That the report along with the comments of the Committee be noted.


Supporting documents:


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